Around the country many students have officially gone back to school. Students in New York City return to school next week. The initial back to school glee felt by Moms, and students alike, may have already started ebbing and been replaced by incredible juggling acts. Homework, studying and hectic schedules are just some of the balls being held up in the air during this time. And, stress. Stress has definitely replaced the glee.
With studies showing stress levels directly affect school performance, it’s important that parents arm their children with tools to stay calm when the demanding pressures of school hit.
Below I’ve listed 5 Tips to Help Students Avoid School Stress and Improve Academic Success that have helped me tremendously with my own two sons.
1. Get enough sleep: If your child is anything like mine, they will battle you about their bedtime schedules. Stand firm. Waking up early in the morning for school, combined with maintaining late hours for sporting practices, after-school activities or homework quickly translates into exhaustion (and ‘tudes!). Having a consistent sleep schedule will help them function at their prime.
2. Create a family calendar: With busy schedules it can be hard to keep everything organized. Running late, or missing events, can quickly add on stress. Keeping a family calendar with everyone’s schedule will help keep you organized and stress free. For younger children, without smartphones, use a color-coded family calendar to keep everything in order. Assign colors for each family member. With teens and tweens, a Google Calendar works just fine. You can easily add your children to events and send reminders. Even better they can’t claim they forgot because a reminder pops up on their smartphone! Sneaky, I know. <Insert maniacal mom laugh here>
3. Inspire positivity: Inspire positivity by praising children on their hard work and efforts. Research shows praising children for their efforts has a tremendous impact on their future endeavors and achievements. For instance, commend children on the amount of time they spent studying for a test instead of focusing on the actual score they received on the test. Personally, I have found that the encouragement received outweighs the fear of failure, which can paralyze and prevent some children from trying.
4. Learn and Use Stress-Reduction Techniques:
Help your children learn healthy habits. Teach them activities that can help reduce stress, like yoga, dancing, jogging and journaling. The first of the three suggestions are physical activities that can help raise endorphins and reduce stress. The last suggestion allows a child to vocalize, and release, any negative and stressful situations in a private, and safe, activity. All have been shown to reduce stress. For younger children, blowing bubbles is a great stress reduction activity. The act of blowing bubbles, involves taking long, deep breaths, which has been shown to reduce stress in children and adults alike.
5. Healthy In. Healthy Out.
Growing up I often heard my mother say that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Nowadays, I find myself telling my sons, “Healthy meals are an important part of the day.” In fact, healthy meals fuel our children during their 8+ hours of school and afterschool. Studies have shown that children who eat a healthy, balanced diet do better academically and have the energy to face the stresses of the day. Thankfully, schools meals of yesteryear are no more. Students are now given healthy school meals to compliment the healthy meals they receive at home. Healthy in. Healthy out.
No two children are exactly alike. What works for one may not work for another. No one knows your child better then you do, so if these suggestions don’t work, don’t give up! Keep trying. At the end of the day, offering your child unconditional love and support will give them the wings they need to fly and lessen their stress and yours too.
Let’s talk! How do you reduce back-to-school stress in your household? Share your tips in a comment below so that we can all benefit from your experience and wisdom.